Pratt Manhattan Gallery presents Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018, an exhibition that explores sixty years of graphic design and art work by three influential women artist-designers: Anni Albers, Elaine Lustig Cohen, and Rosmarie Tissi. Connected by shared circumstances of identity, each is a 20th century woman connected to a well-known male artist or designer and business partner, with mutual friends, patrons, places, and communities. Working through and inspired by constraints, all three demonstrated an affinity for geometric, hard-edged forms. They made work with a common ideal, exemplars of the Bauhaus ethos: unity in art and design. In the work is a vivacity that feels always new, timeless, and individual. Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018 features a selection of art and design objects –typography, textiles, prints, paintings, posters, sculptures, trademarks, and books, design and/or art—in chronological order beginning in 1958. The three women’s overlapping careers span the arc of the Modernist era—from the Bauhaus, to mid-century Pax Americana, to Postmodernism, and into the present. Curated by Phillip Niemeyer, a graphic designer and director of Northern—Southern, a gallery and art agency in Austin, Texas. Anni Albers (1899–1994) began her career as a textile designer at the Bauhaus. She freelanced in Germany until 1933, when she emigrated to America with her husband, Josef. She taught at the Black Mountain School (1933-49). She was the first woman designer to have a one woman show at the Museum of Modern Art (1949). Her book of collected writings On Designing (1959) is considered a classic in design thought and an important text in the lineage of the "design thinking" discipline. Later in life she explored print as a medium for design and art work. She worked and wrote until her death. Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927–2016) learned graphic design working with her first husband, Alvin Lustig. Alvin lost his vision before he passed—Lustig Cohen would create his designs based on his spoken instructions. After Alvin's death in 1955, Lustig Cohen worked as a freelance designer in New York. She designed the typography for Philip Johnson's Seagram Building (1956) and the iconic graphics for the seminal Primary Structures exhibition at the Jewish Museum (1966). In the 1970s she painted, often large and subtle geometric compositions. A group of her paintings were recently shown at Philip Johnson's Glass House (2015). Rosemarie Tissi (1937–present) was published in the Neue Graphik (1957) while still at student in the Swiss School of Art and Craft. She founded the studio O&T with Siegfried Odermatt in 1968. Tissi has been a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale) since 1974, and ADC (Art Directors Club) since 1992. She is the recipient of numerous awards and prices including three Swiss Federal Scholarships for Applied Arts. She still works today. Opening reception: March 1, 6-8 PM
Posts tagged with "Exhibitions":
The practice of architectural drawing has changed dramatically over the past twenty-five years. The traditional pro forma of the sketch (or parti) that would eventually lead to a plan, section, and elevation has given way to exploratory forms of representation. Similar to many postmodern visual arts, architectural drawing has sought to challenge or engage existing paradigms. It often obfuscates or blurs the norms of didactic drawings through inversions, transgressions, and multiplicities of scale, thickness, clarity, measure, shading, and composition. Unlike studio art, however, architectural drawing is defined through its conventions. It conforms to certain rules of presentation—in particular, the use of the line as delineation (a boundary); the preference for flatness, even when drawing in advanced computer-aided programs; the labeling of elements; and the use of representational syntax such as directional arrows, alpha-numerical call-outs, and highly developed decorative and or applied textures. The drawings in the show are not very alike, similar only in that they are situated between the conventions of architectural drawing and the terms of engagement in the arts. While many students of architecture are familiar with this kind of creative exploration, it is less common within an architect’s practice. The works shown here are all from architects who employ exploratory drawing as part of their practice, identifying and furthering their work through these media. This exhibition is only a small sampling of the many works that fall into this relatively new category of exploratory drawing, and because few of these drawings result in “buildings,” these works are often not seen. The concern over the perceived divide between drawings produced by hand and those rendered by computer can be effectively subsumed by the much larger problem of representation in drawing. While the newer tools have been instructive (for example, in turning the line into more of a spline), the computer ultimately does not kill the ambitions of the continuing drawing project. Instead both traditional and digital methods contribute to larger issues: plan-ness instead of plans, sectioning as a dynamic activity, thickening the dimensions of the plane, modeling as a form of drawing, and lightness and shadowing as techniques to produce new fictions rather than techniques of truth-telling. —Dora Epstein Jones
For addressing what some consider to be an extremely niche topic, As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History makes a convincing argument for the importance of exhibitions in broader design. While the book may not convince those who are already skeptical of the role of exhibition in the design fields, those who are at all interested will find it an invaluable resource for understanding historical and contemporary exhibition practices. Using 11 benchmark exhibitions, editor Zoë Ryan builds a conversation between a number of today’s most noted curators, architects, designers, and academics through a series of essays. The end result is a brief critical history of historic and contemporary exhibitions that changed the way architecture and design are understood. Ryan, the John H. Bryan Chair and curator of architecture and design at the Art Institute of Chicago, opens the book with an argument for each of the exhibitions and their places in history. These exhibitions include: This is Tomorrow (1956), the IBM Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair (1964), aper22 (1970), Italy: The New Domestic Landscape (1972), Man Transforms (1976), Memphis (1981), Droog (1993), Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design (1995–97), Massive Change: The Future of Global Design (2004– 06), Sense of the City: An Alternate Approach to Urbanism (2005), and Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary (2007). The remainder of the book is divided up into sections covering the exhibitions themselves, their catalogs, their critical reception, and thoughts on their lasting impact on the design fields. Interestingly, as is pointed out multiple times in the text, many of these exhibitions were not necessarily popular or critically successful when they were first on show. This is Tomorrow, which was shown at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (now the Whitechapel Gallery) in London, was covered extensively by the press, and called everything from confusing to exciting. Memphis—which ran in what would now be called a collateral gallery, located at the edge of the Salone del Mobile in Milan—caused a stir among critics and designers alike, some feeling like the show was some sort of media stunt to elevate the career of Ettore Sottsass. Notably, there are no photographs of the Memphis show. The IBM Pavilion structure, designed by Eero Saarinen and Roche Dinkeloo was not altogether loved, but the interior exhibition, Think, produced by Ray and Charles Eames, received rave reviews and a constant stream of visitors. In all cases, the book lays out why we should care about these shows today, despite or thanks to their initial reception. It is carefully pointed out early in the book that the most recent show was over ten years ago, in order to maintain a critical distance from early reactions. Even with this distance, the book does bring some of the shows in very close with its choice of contributors. In more than one case, curators from the shows covered are given a chance to comment on the larger topic of exhibitions, if not their own work. Mirko Zardini outlines (in a text originally published in Log 20) what it means to show architectural work in Montreal, where his show Sense of the City was exhibited at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA). Paola Antonelli talks more directly about the role of digital content and how it relates to her show Mutant Materials, which was the first show at the Museum of Modern Art to be accompanied by a website. A prevailing theme throughout the essays, if not the book as a whole, is the changing nature and role of exhibitions throughout time. Sylvia Lavin discusses the allure of contemporary exhibitions thanks to their blend of demonstration (full-scale architecture-artifacts), aesthetics (design as art), and information, all of which developed in design and architectural exhibitions in stops and starts in the past century. Meredith Carruthers dedicates an essay to the exhibition catalogs, another topic that pops up throughout the book. Stepping back even further from the exhibitions themselves, Penelope Dean and Alice Rawsthorn specifically discuss the changing shape of design criticism in the form of exhibition reviews over time. The physical book, designed by Project Projects, is appropriately reminiscent of a museum catalog. Highly stylized graphic design, rich imagery, and bold use of multiple paper stocks and colors make it an artifact in itself, an idea discussed extensively in the text about catalogs. This is doubly fitting, as the genesis of the book was a research project conducted by Ryan and displayed at the 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial and eventually as a show at the Art Institute. While not actually a catalog of that show, the meta idea of a book about an exhibition about exhibitions seems fitting for the topic, more so than a simple catalog. As Seen is not for everybody. Those who believe that the field of architecture and design is most importantly a professional one will likely find the conversation about long over exhibitions esoteric if not unnecessary. This book is not for them, though. For those who are interested in the expression of theoretical and avant-garde design concepts through exhibitions (which seems to be a growing number, considering the recent explosion of biennales and triennials around the world), As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History is the closest thing to a textbook on the subject. As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History Zoë Ryan Art Institute of Chicago, $30.49
Get out your Palm Pilots and Seinfeld DVDs—it’s time to start appreciating the 1990s. Time travelers can start their pre-Millennial studies by visiting the Skyscraper Museum’s new exhibition, Millennium: Lower Manhattan in the 1990s. The show, which runs through April, explores civic plans, architectural schemes, and urban legislation that proliferated in this time of simultaneous optimism and anxiety for Manhattan's southern tip. As the Financial District recovered from recession, and reckoned with a building stock and location that were becoming less desirable, the area was in need of new ideas and policies to enact them. In the museum’s mirrored galleries visitors come face to face with urban prescriptions, some successful, some not. Those that came to be included the J.M. Kaplan Foundation's Heritage Trails, walking tours guided by colorful signpost sharing the stories and significance of local buildings and sites. Most no longer stand, but thanks to the museum, you can now view them all online. There's also a massive model of Battery Park City, which added half a dozen buildings as well as significant new public space—like Machado Silvetti’s Wagner Park. Failed plans included SOM’s proposal for a revamped New York Stock Exchange, with a 51-story office building above, and Smith-Miller+Hawkinson’s Museum of Women—The Leadership Center, a nine-story institution just up the block from the Skyscraper Museum. Visitors should also take a look at James Sanders + Associates project for Liberty Plaza, now Zuccotti Park. Commissioned by Heritage Trails New York, the scheme was intended to inject the frenetic activity of the area's financial markets into its relatively sleepy urbanscape, with undulating stock tickers, interactive charts, full color LCD TV displays (a new technology at the time), learning kiosks, and even a beacon sending a beam of light high into the air; an early precursor to the Tribute in Light. The show methodically pinpoints other vital 1990s benchmarks: the crafting of a new neighborhood plan, the landmarking of dozens of buildings, the establishment of the Downtown Alliance, the first bombing of the World Trade Center (1994), the founding of the Skyscraper Museum itself, and the birth of a residential boom in the area thanks to residential conversions and financial incentives. It clearly paints a picture of how pivotal this period was in establishing contemporary New York, and how radically the area, and the country have changed since, as downtown has—for better and worse—morphed under the effects of global capital, real estate, and terrorism perhaps more profoundly than anywhere in the world.
Most New Yorkers know Housing Works though cheerfully crammed thrift stores where vintage blazers, crystal candy dishes, and nice books can be had for good prices. Yet the storefronts are infrastructure for a larger mission: As its name suggests, Housing Works provides housing and social services to homeless New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS. A new project by a Columbia curator teases many stories out of the documents stretching back to its founding in 1990, when the city had few of supportive housing for an estimated 13,000 homeless citizens with HIV/AIDS. Housing Works History is a meticulous digital archive that covers the organization from its founding 27 years ago to its work today in a multimedia timeline that's as elegant as it is thorough. Timed to the 30th anniversary of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), the grassroots group and Housing Works precursor that formed in response to government inaction around HIV/AIDS, Housing Works History speaks to the past and future of supportive housing in New York for the most marginalized groups. That housing, and the activism that made it happen, shaped the city subtly but profoundly. "Focusing on physical spaces gave me a way in, a way to talk about the history, the stories, and the different voices from those spaces," said Gavin Browning, the curator behind Housing Works History. Drawing on his academic background in urban planning and his work at Columbia University (he's the director of public programs and engagement at Columbia University School of the Arts, and the inaugural director of Studio-X), Browning's project provides a forum for a distinctly New York story. Inspired by oral history and the Howard Zinn–esque bottom-up approach to historiography, Housing Works History sorts each significant event, program, or housing milestone chronologically along with links to important court rulings, scanned newspaper clippings, photographs, video, and other ephemera, grounded by parallel timelines of diagnosis and infection rates. The juxtaposed timelines, Browning said, help connect data to lived experience to "expose an archive that wasn't being seen or used, or really acknowledged. Most people don't know this history, and how it's connected to the development of the city. It's really essential New York City history." A click on the year 2000 brings viewers, via archival footage, to the Housing Works Gay Pride parade float, and to the organization's stewardship of two brownstones on West 130th Street, a project started by community group Stand Up Harlem. The project is a platform for collective voices that have shaped the organization and the movement it foregrounds, as well as a window into how a social movement shaped architecture and design in New York. Long abandoned, those brownstones were transformed into supportive housing for substance users. Designed by architect Benjamin Kracauer, the Stand Up Harlem House opened in 2008 and provides 16 units for single adults and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The design connects two adjacent brownstones but moves entryways to the garden level, providing streetscape continuity while allowing for greater accessibility. In addition to the timeline, Browning collaborated with Laura Hanna to shoot five original films featuring the architects, activists, and Housing Works employees behind five of the organization's housing projects. In one, Browning interviews, roundtable-style, a Stand Up Harlem resident, Desi Glazier, program director Ivan Gonzales, a Housing Works attorney, and Kracauer. For the spatially-inclined, there's a map, too, that organizes the group's projects and significant sites. Housing Works History, Browning said, was influenced by Group Material's 1989 installation, AIDS Timeline, which used media, artifacts, and ephemera to document AIDS's evolution from its roots as a health issue to one that shaped LGBT and dominant culture. Close to home, the project grew from a 2012 project Browning curated with Karen Kubey in New York. Living Room: Housing Works Builds Housing explored the group's activism and advocacy that led to the construction of 170 units in three neighborhoods for its target population. Despite his work, Browning isn't employed by for Housing Works; he obtained project funding from the Graham Foundation. Though the website officially debuts today, Housing Works History's official launch party is next week at the New York Pubic Library's main branch (details here). Browning sees the project as a "stepping stone" for other's work—he hopes, for example, the work could inspire others' academic research or ground perspectives on today's struggles for equity and visibility.
Eleven San Diego and Southern California cultural organizations are joining forces this fall to celebrate the life and works of Irving J. Gill. Gill, a famously overlooked San Diego architect who was responsible for introducing the beginnings of modernism to Southern California in the early 1900s. An uneducated migrant from upstate New York, Gill would eventually find himself working in the Chicago offices of Adler & Sullivan, where he worked on the firm’s designs for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Gill left the White City for Southern California in 1893, going on to a prolific career at the helm of the firm Hebbard & Gill. A firm believer in the positive social impacts of proper architecture, Gill took on a variety of clients, providing design services for wealthy, white gentry as well as for several Native American reservations, an African American religious congregation, and the families of migrant Mexican workers. While well-known—if not more renowned—as contemporaries such as Greene and Greene during his lifetime, Gill’s reputation fell off the radar quickly after his death. With a blockbuster lineup of coordinated exhibitions, San Diego institutions are re-elevating Gill as their city’s patron saint of architecture. The San Diego History Center is leading the effort with their exhibition, Irving J. Gill: New Architecture for a Great Country, a survey of Gill’s greatest San Diego works, including many of his influential house designs as well as the La Jolla Women’s Club from 1914, considered to be the first tilt-slab construction building in Southern California. Among other institutions showcasing Gill’s work, The La Jolla Historical Society and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will team up to showcase an exhibition focused on Gill’s orthographic and perspectival drawings, sketches, and watercolor renderings on loan from Gill archives at University of California, Santa Barbara and the San Diego History Center. The Oceanside Museum of Art, housed in a Gill-designed structure originally used as the town’s City Hall from 1934 to 1994, will present a historical overview of the 5,000 square foot structure. In conjunction, the museum will also showcase the work by Frederick Fisher and Partners, who completed a large expansion to the structure in 2008. Lastly, the Save Our Heritage Organisation will present two exhibitions at the Gill-designed National Historic Landmark, Marston House Museum and Gardens. One, Irving J. Gill: Photographer, will showcase Gill’s previously-unknown architectural photographs as well as pictures of his buildings by other photographers. The second, Gill & the Decorative Arts, will dissect Gill’s interior and garden design philosophies through the lens of regional sustainability. The exhibitions open September 24th and run through March 31, 2017.
Twenty Five young American architects are taking on current significant issues facing the world in the 5x5 Participatory Provocations show at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. With the aim of engaging with the public while still being provocative within the field of architecture, 5x5 argues for participatory criticism, or critical engagement through architectural practice. The curators posed five prompts for offices to explore one of through physical models. The prompts include; Droneports – contemplating the future of drone deliveries, Inve$tment Tower$ – the consequence of the construction of extreme luxury high-rises as financial investments, Lunar Resort – luxury tourism on the moon, NSA Community Branch – the fictional development of NSA community branches, and Trump Wall – the potential construction of an anti-immigration wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. The 25 offices participating are: Abruzzo Bodziak Architects Andrew Kovacs / Archive of Affinities Anthony Titus Studio Brillhart Architecture Carl Lostritto Club Club David Emmons Formlessfinder Future Expansion GELPI Projects is-office JKurtz KNE studio Kyle May, Architect Michael Abrahamson Norden Design Platform for Architecture + Research Path + Price Studio P.R.O. + Quarra Stone Company Sean Gaffney / Christina Nguyen Snarkitecture SOFTlab SPACECUTTER Studio Cadena Ultramoderne The resulting models range from the playful to the austere, while questioning the current status of their prompted issue. Abruzzo Bodziak Architects’s NSA Community Branch invites guests to "spy" on the model through cellphone peepholes, the interior revealing and endless web of space. PATH + Price Studio’s take on the same subject places an obtrusive metal building over a neighborhood intersection. Below the ground of the model, the building is revealed to be iceberg-like, with massive underground information storage space. Brillhart Architecure’s Droneport model visualizes the very airspace companies like Amazon are fighting for as product delivery systems are rethought. Projects working with the Inve$tment Tower$ prompt also take to the air with slender supertowers. Both SPACECUTTER’s and P.R.O.’s Inve$tment Tower$ step over the cities below them with thin legs, physically expressing the separation of the rich from the rest of the city. 5x5 Participatory Provocations is curated by Julia van den Hout, founder of Original Copy, and co-founder and Editor of CLOG, Kevin Erickson a New York–based designer, and an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture, and Kyle May a New York-based architect and co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of CLOG. Sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 5x5 Participatory Provocations will be open through March, 4th 2016.
The 18 winning projects shortlisted in the Field Constructs Design Competition flag a range of pressing socio-environmental issues through whimsical takes on interactive public art. The exhibits will occupy an old landfill and brownfield in Austin within the Circle Acres nature reserve, turning the site into a bizarre outdoor museum teeming with site-responsive sculptures and unforeseen creatures. Here, we take a look at some of the winning proposals to be displayed from November 14–22. Cloudfill by Blake Smith, John Cunningham, Seth Brunner (New York) This three-part installation is made of plastic bottles stuffed in bags. Each piece is specifically designed for either forestland, wetlands, or dry land, and references a different environmental issue, from deforestation to strip mining and microplastics in the ocean, to advance the educational mission of the Ecology Action of Texas. A floating bridge is planned for the park’s wetland area, which used to be a quarry.
Commpost by Daniel Gillen, Colby Suter, Gustav Fagerstrom (Beijing)These disorienting camel humps rising in the middle of a field are an educational commentary about composting. Visitors scan QR codes or use the on-site WiFi to learn about ecological food disposal. Like a LEGO set, it comes with a step-by-step assembly manual and can still function with minimal component parts. Visitors can throw scraps and water into pits within the sculpture and watch them turn into dirt. Dis-Figure by Aptum Architecture (Syracuse) This vaguely equestrian sculpture looms out of the swampy shadows like a guardian angel. Built from a wood frame covered in latex, the sculpture reportedly “glows” and changes appearance throughout the day. “Through the intertwining of skeleton and mutilated skin, a digitally enhanced structure and its biodegradable latex ornamentation disfigures the form and, in turn, alludes to a new reading of ‘form meets nature’ as the grotesque, the uncanny, and the unexpected,” said the architects. Las Piñatas by Goujon Design (Austin) This exhibition bespeaks the proverbial tension between development and preservation. The giant piñatas pay homage to a local family-owned piñata store that was razed in early 2015 by a pair of transplanted property developers in the city’s rapidly gentrifying East Austin neighborhoods. “The low-income and predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Montopolis”—where the park is located—“will inevitably become another friction point between the development of a ‘new’ Austin and the preservation of ‘old’ Austin,” according to Field Constructs. Meat Church Field Kitchen by Jordan Bartelt, Scrap Marshall (Los Angeles) The design for this short-lived smokehouse riffs on a lone church standing in the Texas barrens, where seasoned grill-masters prepare juicy meats to be consumed with others like at a church picnic. However, folks of all faiths are welcome at this non-denominational gathering.
On a man-made island in East Amsterdam, this isn't your traditional campsite. The so-called Urban Campsite Amsterdam is an open-air exhibition that features 14 publicly accessible installations that can be booked for an evening under the stars. From trampoline roofs and hemispherical windows, each unique shelter is created by a wide array of designers, architects, and artists. Pictured at top is an installation from social design project collective Treehouse Fest or Boomhuttenfest entitled Solid Family. This bone-shaped icosahedron, created by graphic designer Tobias Berg and furniture designer Sander Borsje, is made from recycled materials and is deceptive with its seemingly unaccommodating shape. Surprisingly, it houses 2 queen-sized beds and can lodge up to four people at a time. From a four-person geo-structure to a two-person trampoline. Designer Vince Vijsma' coined Trampotent for his trampoline/tent hybrid that allows for an entertaining fun house and an eclectic gathering space. Exploring the "flux of garbage and its recycling and utilization in architecture and design," Refunc created IBC Shrinkwrap, housing a queen sized bed for two protected by, of course, shrinkwrap. Refunc believes that "creative reuse" is a better alternative to recycling and that there is potential in discarded materials to transform into something extraordinary. The concept behind the exhibit is to allow the public to interact with contemporary art and showcase its ability to transform a barren stretch of underused land into a common ground for tourists and locals. Urban Campsite also eliminates the barrier between a work of art and its audience through the participatory aspect of the campsite, thereby transcending the viewer-art piece relationship. So park the camper for the summer and crash in a spaceship for the night. The installations are available to book through August 31st.
Chicago's Graham Foundation today announced nearly half a million dollars in grant funding for “groundbreaking” architectural projects by organizations, including the first major career survey of architect David Adjaye, an urban planning program in Ukraine, and architecture festivals in Norway and Portugal. The Graham Foundation, whose director Sarah Herda sits on AN's editorial advisory board, will award $496,500 to 49 projects that “chart new territory in the field of architecture.” The award recipients were plucked from a pool of over 200 submissions representing 22 countries. The Adjaye show, titled Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye, opens September 19 at the Art Institute of Chicago and will be “the only North American venue for this globally focused exhibition,” according to the Art Institute. Other grant recipients include a plan to exhibit sound sculptures designed by Harry Bertoia at Chicago's Experimental Sound Studio, the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s biannual World Wide Storefront event, and the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale. The announcement follows the Graham's “grants to individuals” program, which in May awarded $490,000 for architectural research to 63 projects. Here's the full list of recipients, organized by category: EXHIBITIONS [23 awards] Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL) Chicago Design Museum (Chicago, IL) Columbia College Chicago-Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL) Elmhurst Art Museum (Chicago, IL) The Jewish Museum (New York, NY) MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, at the Schindler House (West Hollywood, CA) Materials & Applications (Los Angeles, CA) Monoambiente (Buenos Aires, Argentina) Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago, IL) Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY) National Trust for Historic Preservation (Washington, DC) Oslo Architecture Triennale (Oslo, Norway) Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art (London, England) Serpentine Gallery (London, England) Slought (Philadelphia, PA) Socrates Sculpture Park (Long Island City, NY) Southern California Institute of Architecture (Los Angeles, CA) Swiss Institute (New York, NY) University of California, Berkeley-Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley, CA) University of Chicago-Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (Chicago, IL) Video Game Art Gallery (Chicago, IL) Yale University-School of Architecture (New Haven, CT) FILM/VIDEO/NEW MEDIA [2 awards] Wavelength Pictures (London, England) The Wende Museum of the Cold War (Culver City, CA) PUBLIC PROGRAMS [12 awards] Archeworks (Chicago, IL) Architectural League of New York (New York, NY) Association of Architecture Organizations (Chicago, IL) CANactions (Kiev, Ukraine) Chicago Architecture Foundation (Chicago, IL) Chicago Humanities Festival (Chicago, IL) Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago, IL) The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (Scottsdale, AZ) Lampo (Chicago, IL) Ohio State University-Knowlton School of Architecture (Columbus, OH) Storefront for Art and Architecture (New York, NY) Van Alen Institute (New York, NY) PUBLICATIONS [12 awards] Anyone Corporation (New York, NY) Art Papers (Atlanta, GA) California Institute of the Arts-REDCAT (Los Angeles, CA) Columbia University-Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (New York, NY) LIGA-Space for Architecture (Mexico City, Mexico) Lisbon Architecture Triennale (Lisbon, Portugal) MAS Context (Chicago, IL) Primary Information (Brooklyn, NY) The Renaissance Society (Chicago, IL) Rice University-School of Architecture (Houston, TX) Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN) Zone Books (Brooklyn, NY)
At the Aronson Galleries at the New School, a wall of pickle jars taped with black-and-white cutout portraits of twenty dictators lines the windowsill. A standard 8 ½ x 11 paper sign invites visitors to Pick Your Own Dick by placing a poker chip in a jar. Chairman Mao, a world-class “dick” whose Cultural Revolution starved and murdered millions of Chinese, and Turkish President Erdogan, an elected Muslim fundamentalist morphing into a military strongman, handily won opening night. Romancing True Power: D20, the mischievous exhibition designed by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss of NAO and conceived by Nina Khrushcheva, associate dean and professor at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at the New School, cheekily invites public debate about the nature of and difference between types of dictatorship, taking special glee in thumbing its nose at ostentatious symbols of power. The exhibit was accompanied by a journal compiled by Khrushcheva with Yiqing Wang-Holborn and by a book of graphic novellas designed as a result of Weiss’s seminar on new ideologies at Columbia GSAPP, both profiling selected dictators and their trappings. The co-curators selected twenty of the world’s biggest dictators—dicks for short, according to the lingua franca of the exhibition—considering them by various yardsticks and quantitative measures. It’s a pun that offers itself willingly and fluently throughout, and why not? Mark Halprin may have had to resign as an analyst at MSNBC in 2011 for disrespectfully characterizing President Obama’s as acting like “kind of a dick” after a press conference, but it’s good to know there’s still some humor left in academia. In the exhibition space, celebratory tchotchkes and representative “dick kitsch” adorns a roomful of stacked white cubes Scotch-taped with information about each leader. On the gallery walls, informational print-outs graph in three dimensions the greatness or infamy each of the selected dictators, and a video collects scenes of the symbolic displays of power—choreographed military parades, building-scale posters, salutes--that are the trappings of authoritarianism. In the hallway, a hall of dictators designed by NAO composed of photocopied black-and-white sheets invites you to compare each dick’s stature—with the exception of Margaret Thatcher all of the prime examples chosen are men—and each is crowned by his dick palace. Inflected by a distinctly Slavic black-humor, underlying Romancing True Power is an academically rigorous examination of the forms dictatorship takes relative to different systems of government. Most of the exemplars are conventionally accepted members of the group: President Vladimir Putin, a true dick by any standard, evinces a visible pleasure in flamboyant dissembling, willfully erratic behavior, and contempt for his opponents. Putin is joined as co-representative of Russia by his typological predecessor, Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Community Party of the Soviet Union, one of the great mass-murderers and political assassins of all time: another order of dick altogether. Vice President Dick Cheney, great fabricator of post 9-11 conspiracies and silencer of political opponents, is placed alongside another legendary Dick, President Nixon, known as Tricky Dick long before he was uncovered spying on Democratic opponents during the Watergate scandal and forced to resign. Khrushcheva and Weiss selected the twenty dicks in a lively debate while developing the book and exhibition, and created appendixes listing second and third tier adherents of the club. The European fascists of the WWII era fall into this latter category, along with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, currently a leading proponent of the genocidal category; possibly they’re too intellectually obvious and uncomplicated to make the first cut. Apart from academic credentials Nina Khrushcheva had special access to this field: she is the great-granddaughter of Soviet First Secretary of the Community Party Nikita Khrushchev, an honorary third-tier dick notorious for taking his shoe off and banging it on the table for emphasis at the UN. The twenty chosen “dicks,” the D20, are offered as a counterpoint to the G20, the leaders of the world’s 20 most industrialized countries who meet in Geneva each year to decide the fate of the international economy. The sole function of the twenty dicks, by contrast, seems to be to intimidate, harass, punish, dominate, silence, and display their true power. That is, their dickpower. The beauty of the show at the New School is the opposite. It constructs a public display about dictatorship that is itself an open public debate. The opening night panel discussion with Bobby Ghosh, a CNN Global Affairs analyst, exposed that debate to public scrutiny. Its exhibits are all paper monuments created samizdat style, in the manner of the Soviet dissidents of old, who secretly distributed photocopies of books and political pamphlets as handmade productions that were no less important because of their improvised character. Both the exhibition and the hardcover journal, available as an online journal, with informative chapters such as “Dicks and their Love of Sports” and “Dicks and their Music,” repudiates abuse of power by making it the subject of debate, play, and mockery. Nothing is as worthy of ridicule as the exercise of dickpower.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's announcement that Chicago would launch an international festival of art and architecture—its own take on the famous Venice biennale—drew jeers and cheers from the design community both near and far from The Second City. AN called for the show aspiring to be North America's largest architectural exhibition to go beyond tourism bromides. Now the upstart expo has a name, as well as its first show. The inaugural Chicago architecture biennial will begin in October 2015, and will be called “The State of the Art of Architecture,” in reference to the controversial conference organized in 1977 by architect Stanley Tigerman. Tigerman's show celebrated the postmodern rejection of Chicago's old masters like Mies van der Rohe, forging the position of architectural protest group The Chicago Seven. A press release from the organizing committee alludes to the upcoming exhibition's wide scope:
More than a profession or a repertoire of built artifacts, architecture is a dynamic cultural practice that manifests at different scales and through various media: buildings and cities, but also art, performance, film, landscape and new technologies. It permeates fundamental registers of everyday life—from housing to education, from environmental awareness to economic growth, from local communities to global networks.The biennial's first commission was announced Wednesday by co-directors Joseph Grima—a former curator of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and director of the Ideas City platform of the New Museum—and Sarah Herda, director of the Graham Foundation and AN editorial advisor. Renowned photographer Iwan Baan will contribute an original photo essay about Chicago featuring aerial shots taken at sunrise. The work will “capture the city during a moment of its daily routine,” according to the press release. “Like the Biennial itself, Baan’s expansive photographs interpret Chicago as a realm of architectural possibility, past and future.” The free festival's home base will be the Chicago Cultural Center, but organizers say it won't be restricted to downtown. “Using the city as a canvas, installations will be created in Millennium Park and other Chicago neighborhoods, including new projects and public programs developed by renowned artist Theaster Gates on Chicago’s south side,” reads a press release. “The Biennial will also feature collateral exhibitions and events with partner institutions throughout the city, and will offer educational programming for local and international students.” Tigerman, whose 1977 exhibition is the inspiration for the 2015 show's title, sits on the biennial's International Advisory Committee, which also includes architects David Adjaye, Elizabeth Diller, Jeanne Gang, and Frank Gehry, along with critic Sylvia Lavin, Lord Peter Palumbo and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Ty Tabing, former executive director of the Chicago Loop Alliance and founder of Singapore River One, will serve as the biennial's executive director. Oil giant BP has agreed to donate $2.5 million for the show, but Mayor Emanuel is reportedly seeking $1.5 million more.